Leica Geosystems: The surveyor as a data manager

February 25, 2022  - By and
Photo: Leica Geosystems

Photo: Leica Geosystems

While some tasks for AEC surveying are similar to other types of surveying — such as original ground surveying, creating site control and live monitoring — the biggest differences and challenges arise in data management, timeframes, communication and deliverables.

In AEC surveying, the project timeline is the primary factor driving everything, creating a different kind of pressure on the surveyor. As data experts and problem solvers, surveyors for AEC must quickly adapt to construction progress, as their survey knowledge can be needed on site at any point.

Information transfer challenges also exist — such as clearly communicating data to non-surveyors who perform measurement tasks — along with creating unique deliverables across construction stages. These include 3D terrain models with real-world coordinates for architects; fit-for-purpose computer-aided design and Industry Foundation Class models for machine operators and mechanical, electrical and plumbing installers or off-site fabricators; and progress reports for project owners.

Several AEC firms have opted to create their own inhouse survey teams. This allows greater control over the consistency and clarity in communication and deliverables, because they focus exclusively on surveying for AEC and are therefore familiar with its specific challenges.

The main challenge for the surveyor in AEC is sifting through and processing the data, assessing quality, understanding relevance, producing results and crafting deliverables to meet the clients’ needs.

An integrated total solution is important for AEC surveyors who must decide not only which technology to use, but how to process data from different technologies together. Our products fit within this integrated solution concept.

Leica Geosystems‘ automated total stations, multistations and GNSS blend innovation and traditional technology, such as the Leica GS18 I with tilt and visual positioning, enabling surveyors to measure more, faster.

For mass data collection, the Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner operates at two million points per second and contains visual inertial system (VIS) technology simplifying the registration process. The Leica BLK series combines intelligence and accessibility, including the BLK360 imaging laser scanner, the handheld BLK2GO, and the latest autonomous technology of the BLK2FLY and BLKARC.

Finally, our software connects surveyors to their sensors and data in the field with Leica Captivate and Leica Cyclone Field 360 and to the office with Leica Infinity and Leica Cyclone, extending to existing CAD software with the Leica CloudWorx suite of CAD plug-ins.

Bringing an Aqua Park to Life

One memorable success story was the use of our products for AEC survey tasks during construction of Germany’s biggest aqua park, Rulantica. The survey work was led by Saladin Keller of Keller planen + bauen. The project involved the creation and construction of a Nordic-themed water world featuring 25 attractions, including water slides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

Alongside all the typical surveying for AEC tasks — establishing site control, staking out pipes, and planning and staking the entire traffic infrastructure — Keller had the challenge of measuring and positioning the complex internal geometry. These tasks required skilled surveyors and a variety of survey tools, such as total stations, GNSS rovers, laser scanners and powerful processing software.

Operating within the AEC environment also meant that communication and flexibility were key to the success of the project. Keller needed to provide the right data to different trades and handle urgent maintenance requests requiring surveying skill, such as rebuilding parts and adjusting utilities.